by Sarantis Michalopoulos
The recovery plans of 12 member states are expected to be adopted by EU finance ministers at a meeting on Tuesday. For now, the atmosphere is positive but things are expected to change when the first payment requests are made following the progress reports.
“National governments are playing nice now as they vote on each other’s plans. We should expect much heavier scrutiny when it comes to member states requesting payouts,” Christopher Gluck from the Forefront Advisers consultancy told EURACTIV.
In an interview with EURACTIV in April, MEP Nicolae ?tefanu?a warned that auditing and rule of law mechanisms should be ready to scrutinise how the first installments of the EU Recovery Fund will be dispersed across the bloc.
Next plans to be adopted toward the end of the month are those of Lithuania, Croatia, Cyprus and Slovenia.
The only recovery plan that will slightly change is the Greek one, although its content was assessed as one of the best ones.
According to sources close to the issue, Athens was asked to clarify the solvency support scheme’s criteria to make funds’ allocation more transparent.
EURACTIV’s report on the issue last week triggered strong reactions in Athens, with the main opposition leftist Syriza party accusing the conservative New Democracy government of trying to serve the interests of its few friends while excluding the vast majority of SMEs in actual need for cash.
Alternate Minister of Finance Theodoros Skylakakis said EURACTIV’s report was inaccurate but failed to respond to an opposition follow-up request to detail where the inaccuracy lay.
The sources explained that the change in the Greek plan is a minor tweak to language, but politically it sends a strong message to other member states who asked for scrutiny of the Greek plan.
Another key challenge will be Hungary’s plan as its approval will be delayed until at least September due to a rule-of-law standoff.
*first published in: www.euractiv.com